Austrians, Swiss, Chinese Launch Three New Electric Aircraft

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Fuel Cells, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Three companies with divergent backgrounds launched three new electric aircraft in the last few months. 1973, and Its Descendants are Still Electric As noted in the blurb for its historic YouTube video for its first electric flight 46 years ago, “HB Flugtechnik is the pioneer in electric flight. The world’s first electric powered flight took place on October 21st, 1973 in Austria. 50 years later this company is still in business and doing better than ever. Given, that we talk about the aviation business, this is an outstanding and remarkable achievement. Today, HB Flugtechnik located at the now newly refurbished airfield Hofkirchen LOLH is not only the major MRO (Maintenance, Repair Organization or Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul) for aircraft in …

Borschberg, H55 Introduce BRM Energic

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Leadership is about empowering people to make them owner of their world, and constantly challenging them to make them extend their known territory.” Andre’ Borschberg Andre’ Borschberg’s current challenge, shared with Bertrand Piccard, involves their Solar Impulse Foundation, whose goal is to foster 1,000 solutions “that protect the environment in a profitable way.”  “Profitable” helps produce results, and with Piccard being a psychiatrist, ensures the self-interest that drives many also drives a certain level of altruism in saving the environment. Borschberg and two other Solar Impulse leaders, Sébastien Demont and Gregory Blatt, founded H55 and produced a modification of the Silence Twister, a single-seat aircraft with a Siemens motor.  Their latest conversion, following their philosophy of, “Building up experience by …

Solar Impulse Foundation Seeks 1,000 Solutions

Dean Sigler Announcements, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Andre’ Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard, founders and pilots of Solar Impulse, have founded an important outgrowth of their globe-spanning mission – The World Alliance for Efficient Solutions.  With almost 500 members and seeking 1,000 with responsible and profitable solutions the two are working to gain investors in literally saving the world. Bertrand Piccard sees a current vision of a world that’s out of phase with technological reality.  In an editorial, he mused: “When I was flying with my solar plane over the Atlantic Ocean, I remember looking at the sun that was giving energy to my four electric motors and their huge propellers. There was no noise, no pollution, no fuel… and I could fly forever. At one moment I …

SolarStratos Makes First Flight

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

SolarStratos, a feather-light 450 kilogram (990 pound), solar-powered airplane, lifted off for the first time on May 5 in Payerne, Switzerland.  Considering its 24.9 meter (81.69 feet) wingspan, the airplane shows designer Calin Gologan’s ability to squeeze performance from every gram of structure.  It flies nicely, too, with test pilot Damian Hischier enthusing, “The plane is very nice to [fly].  [Its] reactions are healthy, and we see that it was well designed.” Sharing Payerne Airport with Solar Impulse, SolarStratos represents a different kind of adventure, ready to make five-hour flights to 75,000 feet (two hours up, five hours down).  Such flights can carry a pilot and scientific measuring equipment, or for those lucky enough to have the price of admission, …

Solar Impulse Pilot Andre’ Borschberg to Speak at SAS 2017

Dean Sigler SAS, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

One of two pilots who guided Solar Impulse around the world will speak at the 2017 Sustainable Aviation Symposium.  Andre’ Borschberg, having accomplished along with Bertrand Piccard an extraordinary voyage, uses his reputation and celebrity to educate the world that the “Future is Clean,” a watchword for the team’s ongoing efforts. Last November, for instance, Bertrand Piccard “launched the World Alliance for Clean Technologies under the umbrella of the Solar Impulse Foundation – a second phase in the realization of his vision that clean technologies can accomplish impossible goals and solve many of the challenges facing our society today.” In the meantime, Andre’ uses his engineering talents and perspective to bringing about practical outcomes derived from his and Bertrand’s experiences.  Because …

Solar Impulse 2 Batteries – Better than We Thought

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What happened to Solar Impulse 2’s batteries on those long five days and nights over the Pacific?  It took months of enforced downtime in Hawaii to have new batteries made, sent from Korea, installed, tested, and flown again.  Could the plane have completed the flight on the original batteries? Kokam, manufacturer of the airplane’s cells, has released new information that provides details of the drive system and relieves a few lingering anxieties.  An over-riding concern was that batteries overheated on the Japan to Hawaii part of the mission, topping out at 50 degrees Centigrade (122 degrees Fahrenheit) – above their design temperature.  Your editor has thought deeply about what Andre’ Borschberg must have gone through every day of the five …

Solar Impulse Makes a Final Landing

Dean Sigler Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Bertrand Piccard closed out the over-year-long endurance test of man and machine, landing in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, where the 17-leg journey began over a year ago. Landing at night in the glow of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center, the largest mosque in the UAE, and greeted by fellow pilot Andre’ Borschberg, the project’s sponsor HSH Prince Albert of Monaco, and a large throng in western and Middle Eastern garb, the flight climaxed not only an aerial adventure, but an opportunity to share multiple cultures and teach thousands of children and youth about alternative energy and the way to a green future for all. Whether the promises made at the United Nations and at COP21 in Paris …

Solar Impulse Word of the Day – Penultimate

Dean Sigler Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Headlines all over the world are sharing the word of the day – penultimate, meaning the next to the last* – in this case the next to last flight for Solar Impulse 2. The Guardian newspaper explained, “After setting off from Seville on Monday morning, the plane passed through Algerian, Tunisian, Italian and Greek airspace, and flew over the Giza Pyramids before touching down at Cairo airport at around 7.10am (5.10am GMT). Its support crew cheered as the plane, no heavier than a car but with the wingspan of a Boeing 747, landed, and trailed after it on bicycles.” Which brings up a question – why are the guys on foot outrunning the guys on the expensive electric bicycles? Certainly, …

Solar Impulse 2 Gets a Jet Escort

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Following a fairly non-eventful crossing of the Atlantic, Bertrand Piccard was greeted by a welcoming formation of Casa C-101 Aviojets, Spain’s Patrulla Águila flight demonstration team. After three days and nights in the air, Piccard landed in the Spanish sunrise, also finalizing efforts to establish the International Committee of Clean Technology (ICCT), whose goal is to continue Solar Impulse’s legacy, “promoting concrete energy efficient solutions in order to solve many of the challenges facing society today.” While “Until recently, protecting the environment was expensive and threatened our society’s comfort, mobility and growth. Today, thanks to modern clean technologies, the energy consumption of the world, and therefore the C02 emissions, could be divided by two, while creating jobs and enhancing profits. …

Solar Impulse’s Great Photo Op – and Special Birthday Guest

Dean Sigler Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Saturday night, if you were lucky enough to be wandering the streets of New York City, you would have seen a string of lights slowly crossing the sky above the Statue of Liberty, a stirring sight – especially for those following the over-year-long flight of Solar Impulse 2. Andre’ Borschberg had flown the giant electric airplane from the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania to the night skies over Manhattan, landing finally at John F. Kennedy International Airport.  The airplane will pause briefly before departing on a trans-Atlantic flight to an as-yet undisclosed location in Europe, from which it will make the final leg of the journey, returning to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. “The Statue of Liberty is a …